We are barely a quarter of the way into the 2019 MLB season, but there are already a handful of rookies who are making huge impacts for their teams and around the league.
These new, young faces in baseball could prove to be pivotal for their teams' playoff pushes this summer.
Here are some of the players who have made their presence felt:
Pete Alonso, New York Mets
The Mets first baseman was touted as a power hitter, hitting 36 dingers in the minors last year, and he has lived up to the hype. The 25-year-old was the NL Rookie of the Month in April, and blasted a monumental moonshot in the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday to lead the Mets to a 7-6 victory. He is hitting .284 with a .362 on-base percentage, 11 home runs and 31 RBIs through 36 games.
Chris Paddack, San Diego Padres
The hard-throwing 23-year-old, who started a bit of a rivalry with Alonso this week over getting snubbed for those NL Rookie of the Month honors, may be in the Cy Young Award conversation in addition to Rookie of the Year consideration. In seven starts, Paddack is 3-1 with a microscopic 1.55 ERA — best in the National League — and a 0.69 WHIP, which leads all major league pitchers. He has 46 strikeouts in 40.2 innings and most recently outdueled last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner, Jacob deGrom, in a 4-0 win over the Mets.
Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are 11 games over .500 and sitting in first place in the daunting American League East, and their 24-year-old rookie second baseman is a major reason why. Lowe, the AL Rookie of the Month in April, is hitting .311 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs through 32 games this year. He leads all American League rookies with 37 hits and 22 runs scored.
John Means, Baltimore Orioles
Sure, the Orioles may not be going anywhere this season, but they are worth watching when the 26-year-old Means takes the mound. The southpaw started the season in the bullpen, but has become a pleasant surprise shifting into a starting role, pitching to a 2.48 ERA — fifth-best in the AL — and a 1.01 WHIP. He does not throw hard, topping out around 92 mph, but has been able to keep hitters off balance by changing speeds.
Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks
The 28-year-old first baseman was not even supposed to be a starter, but he has taken full advantage of an opportunity. With Jake Lamb on the IL due to a quad strain, Walker has emerged as a potent bat in the Diamondbacks lineup, hitting .296 with a .367 OBP, seven home runs, 16 RBI and is tied for the NL lead with 14 doubles.
Other rookies to watch: Alex Verdugo, Los Angeles Dodgers; Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres; Nick Senzel; Cincinnati Reds; Victor Robles, Washington Nationals; Spencer Turnbull, Detroit Tigers; Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays
By John Healy